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FAQs about Xeniid Compatibility, Removal

Related Articles: Pulsing Soft Corals, Family Xeniidae 'Coral' Compatibility: On Reducing Captive Negative Interactions Cnidarians  by Bob Fenner, ppt. vers: Cnidarian Compatibility: On Reducing Negative Cnidarian Interaction Parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,  by Bob Fenner

Related FAQs: Xeniids 1, Xeniids 2, Xeniids 3, Xeniids 4, Xeniid ID, Xeniid Behavior, Xeniid Selection, Xeniid Systems, Xeniid Feeding, Xeniid Disease, Xeniid Reproduction, Soft Coral Propagation, Soft Coral HealthAlcyoniids, Nephtheids, Dendronephthya, Paralcyoniids, Nidaliids,

Xenia Overgrowth Removal     2/17/18
WWM Team:
I thought I would share a solution to a problem I had recently with Xenia in my 1000 gallon reef tank.
<Oh, please do>
I occasionally see posts on WWM regarding explosions of Xenia growth in reef tanks overgrowing SPS coral. The common solution seems to be the isolation / manual removal of Xenia from the rocks which can be difficult if it is encrusting over a large area in an established reef. I had this issue at the end of last year and a $5 piece of black felt and some patience (10 weeks) took care of the issue! The felt can be easily cut to size depending on the area where you want the Xenia removed. The best part is, because the Xenia died off slowly, the tank didn't get shocked in the
same way that scraping causes. Here is the before and after:
<Neato! And no adverse chemical reactions... due to? Size/volume of the system, use of chemical filtrants?
Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>


During                                      and                                       after

Blue Anthelia Overgrowth       4/2/16
Hi. I have a RedSeaMax 650 (approx 200 gallon) 3 eco tech marine ration pro's, approx 14 fish, various tangs, gobies, etc. As a lot of newbies do, I got the pretty soft corals, not knowing they would eventually start to overtake my tank, and now almost 4 years later that's finally happening and I would like to get rid of them. Are there any fish I can get that would eat them or am I stuck taking the rocks out and scraping them off??
<The latter... do it carefully; only a bit at a go (toxicity issues)...
consider selling the excess to LFS and maybe AquaBid... Bob Fenner>

SPS Anthelia Question, hlth and comp resp.    3/29/15
Hello Bob et.al. I have been having some real weird issues with sps in terms of them burning (turning all white or brown). This all began in October when I moved the existing system into a 180, plenty of skimming, plenty of water movement. 6 months of scratching my head as too why with MG of 1500, CA at 450, I was still having issues getting ph to 8.3 (even with
Kalk, and alk issues).
<Don't fret over this.... do you have sufficient N, P, K?>
Boiled down to the salt I was using, I don't know if its because I have a ULN system,
<ULN: Ultra Low Nutrient for browsers>
but it was seemingly associated with using Red Sea Pro salt. I have bought multiple test kits and been through it all, I am now seeing color in sps and chalices I haven't seen in 6 months. One question though. I have anthelia which has gotten to the invasive stage,
<This could definitely be a factor as well>
it dominates 40% of LR surface.
<Yes; I'd trade out (with a shop) all but five, ten percent of this... for new rock. Isolate the remaining on its own bommies>
I know it can be toxic, but the only way I seem to be able to rid of it is to blow torch the rock which sends the rock into recycle.
<Careful here. Instead, as stated, trade it in for new rock>
Any suggestions on dealing with the anthelia? My understanding is that anthelia are minor to moderately toxic but only if irritate or try to kill them. I am just trying to determine how big of a threat their presence in my system is to sps, other than touching warfare.
Thanks, Tom
<The nutrient check (to make sure you have all three in proportion) and removal of the bulk of the Xeniid... along with enough light, circulation.... Bob Fenner>

Dear Mr Fenner

When i first set up my aquarium i bought the usual 'easy to keep' invertebrates such as Mushrooms (Discosoma), some Green Star Polyps and some pulsing Xenia.

Now that I'm trying to grow more hard corals I'm finding the Xenia is taking over.  I've tried removing it, but it keeps growing back and when i do pull it off the rock it often just leaves a gooey mess in the water.  Are there any techniques i could use to keep it under control?

I've also read it is toxic; will the fish and other corals suffer?

Stephen Green, Dundee

            Ah yes Stephen. What is that definition of a weed? 'A (plant) organism for which we haven't yet found a viable use for'. For Pulse Corals, Family Xeniidae, there may not at some point be a viable use period! In some cases the genus Xenia in particular can be horribly invasive! Hence my and others admonition to always keep it confined, isolated best on its own independent bommie/rock area.

            There are a few approaches to curtailing runaway growth once the 'horse has left the barn', but as you speculate they have their potential downsides. Yes to Xenia being chemically toxic (allelopathogenic) to many other 'corals' (stinging-celled life, aka Cnidarians) especially, not so much directly to other invertebrates and fishes; and therefore the need to take care in any excising, removal and to have plenty of prepared change-out water on hand, possibly chemical filtrants, or ideally another whole system up and running to move your other livestock to should there be a toxic event. Careful trimming outside the system if possible, or in, with siphoning the bits and water about to waste is the most proficient means of thinning the herd.

            There can be a modicum of control exercised by limiting nutrient availability'¦ being careful what is fed and how, using chemical filtrants, a Deep Sand Bed (DSB), competing life (macroalgae in particular) in a tied-in refugium, live-lighted sump'¦

            Finally, there are possible predators'¦ More and less species, genera to family-specific Nudibranchs, Snails, and Crabs'¦ but these are hard to come by and control of and by themselves. Better for all if you can trim and have/reattach such fragments for sale through your stockist.

Hi Bob, 

Can you please give me some advice I have a 4x2x2ft reef tank with metal halide lighting a 37x18x18 sump with a refugium containing chaeto and caulerpa algae with miracle mud and live sand that is lit 24 hours a day plus an Aquamedic blue protein skimmer.

I mostly keep lps and sps corals and a couple of large soft corals, my fish stock is low and water parameters are within limits. I introduced pulsing xenia a year ago and it is overtaking my tank! I have tried pulling it out but within a few days its back, I was told by my local fish shop to remove all live rock and scrub it. But the problem is I have a lot of corals attached to the rock and don't want to strip tank down completely. It even attaches to my sps corals (is there anything it does not like!) I don't mind a small clump but it is taking over my aquarium please help!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

M Pinkard via email. 

A couple of comments re your present system ahead of addressing the Xeniid issue. I encourage you to remove the genus Caulerpa algae. These greens have proven to be too toxic for most all captive uses. With its removal, I would also change your light regimen, to having the Chaeto illuminated in a reverse daylight period (with some overlap if you'd like), with your main/display tank. 

Predation? As far as I'm aware there are no dependable predators that will selectively eat the offending pulsing coral and leave all else alone. 

Nutrient deprivation: This too is a non-starter, as your desirable photosynthates will suffer along with, if not ahead of the Xeniid. 

Try to crash: Mmm, you could 'disturb' a bunch of the Xenia'¦ by scrubbing or cutting in place'¦ and this could trigger a melt-down'¦ that might well cause your other livestock more woe than you want'¦ 

Harvest and sell'¦ Option number one is to sell or swap the rocks with the Xenia and Zoanthids on them. The saying 'One man's weed is another man's wildflower' applies here. Check your local fish club, stores, or other hobbyists in the area. Xenia is a poor shipper so you might be able to get a pretty good deal. In fact, best if you have an extra system, to move all Xeniid-infested material to another system, and systematically break off, and move back the attached invertebrate life you do want to keep; slowly selling off the Xenia. 

                Going forward, do isolate what parts of your system you intend to have overrun w/ this soft coral, Zoanthids, Clove Polyps and such'¦ on separate rock croppings'¦ to prevent their spreading.

MASSIVE TANK CRASH !!! Typical Xeniid die-off, cascade event        2/20/14
Hello Mr. Fenner,
I have a 210 gallon reef and everything was doing well until last week.
A thriving colony of Xenia (6") suddenly withered and died overnight.

Thinking this is typical of Xenia, I did not think of it until I started to see black spots appearing on all of my finger leather corals the next day.
<Oh... when Xeniids (do) crash, one needs to be making huge water change-outs, using chemical and physical filtrants, possibly moving other livestock elsewhere>

In a matter of two days, they look like they were sprinkled with charcoal and died. All my zoos closed up and my GSP stopped opening.
<Cascade event... use these two words in the search tool on WWM...>
Both of my cleaner shrimps and Coco worm died. The skimmer is hyperactive and the water is cloudy. I then had to remove all the rocks with dying corals out of tank and moved the live corals to my 55 gallon frag tank.
 So far, they are doing OK. At this time, the main tank has no corals but only mushrooms that I couldn't remove as they were all over.
There are three filters totally rated at 270 gallons running with carbon right now since two days ago.
 Last night, I noticed the mushrooms are recovering and some patches of GPS start to come out. Nitrate is @ 20.
The rocks that were covered with dying zoos are left in the garage dried and this weekend, I will scrape them off because I don't want to deal with their toxins. 
<DO WEAR gloves IF touching the water or Zoanthids... TOXIC... Better to vacuum as much away as you can... to the toilet... leave the windows open. SEE WWM RE ZOAS>
The fish appear to be unaffected. So these are my questions:
1.       What is the cause of my crash? Xenia poisoning the tank as they died?
<First them, then other Cnidarians in reaction>
2.       When can I scrape off the dead zoos from rocks and place them back into my main tank?
<Weeks... >
3.       Should I a massive water change like 50%? So far, what is left in the main start to show signs of recovering.
<Yes, yes and yes>
4.       What will be my next steps?
Thank you so much and I appreciate your input very much! Dai
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
RE: [EXTERNAL] re: MASSIVE TANK CRASH !!!       2/20/14

Hello Mr. Fenner
Thank you for your guidance and to return the favor WWM has done for me, I will make a donation to your website (I am so guilty... Should have done it years ago...) . From now on no more Xenias. My LFS is willing to let me trade in my rocks so I will do that than risking being poisoned.
<Ahh, good, thank you. BobF>
RE: [EXTERNAL] re: MASSIVE TANK CRASH !!! – 02/20/14
With the risk of Xenia doing nasty things why do LFS still sell them? It appears to be such a disaster waiting to happen!
<"Some of this, some of that"... Folks buy them; they're beautiful, decorative... there are MANY (even more) toxic organisms sold in the trade.

All My Polyps are Closed!!? Anomalous Xeniid crash   5/24/10
Hello Crew,
I have been a big fan of this website for years, and I come here whenever I have an easy or tough question to answer. The wealth of knowledge on this site is second to none, and I appreciate having this resource available.
Here's my most recent issue:
I've had a reef tank set up for a little over 3 years (50 Gal display with 30g sump), with various polyps, and other soft corals, as well as some fish, snails, etc. Everything has been doing well, but I recently switched two things to my tank, and ALL my polyps have been closed since. It looks like the Pom Pom Xenia are all either dead or dying, as well. I'm hoping someone can help...
<Do be ready to scrape, remove the Xeniids if they're collapsing... or take out all else to some other system>
I have always had perfect levels (8.3, 0 nitrate, 0 phosphate, 480 cal., etc.), but was still having an algae issue. To combat that, I decided to add a Vortech MP10 to make sure I didn't have any dead areas (Have been running a Mag Drive 12 as main return with a SCWD, with a Maxi Jet with 1600 attachment in the tank). I also added two boxes worth of Hagen BioMax Filter Media in a section of my sump, just before the return pump.
<Both these changes, additions should be fine>
My goal with those was to get rid of any "crap" that kept getting pumped back into the main tank by the return pump. My levels are still pristine, algae is pretty much under control, and the clarity of my water is much better.
But, my polyps remain closed!?
Any ideas?
<Something else... but Pulsing Soft Corals can/do at times undergo population collapses... and the resultant chemical stew can be very toxic to other Cnidarians, fishes even>
Have I "purified" the water too much with the BioMax?
<No... this is a chemically inert material... for bacterial housing...>
I've tried different speeds with the MP10, and no change. I've also tried putting Coral Frenzy in a few times, and no change.
Any help is Greatly Appreciated.
<Again, the removal of the Xeniids... or all other livestock elsewhere... Water changes, use of carbon, spiffing up your skimmer can only do so much>
(if this helps, I also have a small amount of carbon filtration, Nova Extreme T5's, a protein skimmer, and a good amount of live rock)
<Do/es help>
<Bob Fenner>
Re: All My Polyps are Closed!!? Xeniid allelo?   6/7/10

Thank you Bob,
I have a few follow up questions:
I removed the xenia, and left the other polyps that were closed in the tank. They have not opened as of now, and I am worried that they have all died. Are they possibly adding more pollutants to my tank?
<Is possible>
I have done at least two water changes, have changed the carbon in my filtration system, and added a poly filter to that system as well. My skimmer is taking up more than it has in months, and the poly filter has turned blue. Apparently the poly filter turning blue means that it is taking some sort of copper out of the system.
<Mmm, not necessarily... though copper presence does change these pads bluish. Did you add copper to this system? Lo dudo>
I don't understand what is going on in the system. It seems like most, if not all, of my snails have died. I have a royal gramma and clown fish in the tank, and they both seem fine. But, I found my cleaner shrimp stuck to my Vortech MP10 this morning. It was doing well, and I'm not sure what happened, but it must have gotten sucked into the pump sometime overnight. Should I get the other polyps out of the tank?
<If you have room elsewhere, another established system, I would>
I tested the water again, today, and all my levels are near perfect (8.3 pH, 0 Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite, and Phosphate, and 500 Cal).
<The Calcium is too high... is Magnesium about three times this concentration?
The Calcium was a little higher than the usual 480.
Any help you can give is greatly appreciated, because I'm at a loss.
<There are still a myriad of possibilities here... Please peruse the "toxic water cond.s" and "env. disease" FAQs here:
Bob Fenner>

Would like advice about adding Spaghetti & Lemnalia corals. 5/13/10
Hello WetWebMedia experts! You were very helpful to me back in 2002 when I had questions about setting up my first saltwater tank (a 55 gal FOWLR tank w/a couple damsels). We upgraded to a 240 gal tank in 2006. Your site has been very informative but I find myself stumped again and in need of some advice.
Here is the run down on my tank:
Tank: 240 gal with 4" sand bed and ~150 lbs live rock. Main tank has two drop in 9W Submariner UV lights (they also help w/water circulation behind the rock in the back of the tank) and two Koralia 3 circulation pumps on each side. Tank is plumbed to a 70 gal lighted sump containing two 950 gph Supreme pumps feeding to main tank, an Aqua-C EV180 Skimmer (w/700 gph Supreme pump) and 2 heaters. A Fluval 404 canister filter (containing pre-filter, charcoal & ceramic cylinders) is connected to the sump. We also have an Arctica 1/3 hp chiller.
Lighting: (2) 400W 10,000K Metal Halides, (2) 96W dual 10,000K/460 nm actinic bulbs; (2) dual actinic 420/460 nm bulbs and (2) 48" strips of moonlights (24 LEDs each). These are in a hood with about 8" clearance from the top glass on the tank, 10" fro the water surface.
Fish: 4-Yellowtailed Damsels (one is the first fish we started with back in December 2002; Pair of Ocellaris clowns and a Yellow tang we have had since 2003. Other additions in the last few years include: 8-Green Chromis and a Royal Gramma.
Inverts: A Brittlestar (Ophiomastix venosa) we have had since 2003. Clam (T. crocea), Blue Linckia starfish, a couple fighting conchs, and several blue-legged hermits, Astrea snails, Turbo snails, Nassarius snails, Cerith snails, two Emerald crabs and a Coral banded shrimp.
Corals: 75+ large (at least 3" in diameter and 6 or more inches tall) groups of Waving Hand Xenia sp.; Pom-pom Xenia sp. (25+ at least 3" in diameter); one colony of button polyps (Protopalythoa sp.); 5 big clumps of star polyps Briareium sp. (that I am trying to curtail); small orange Zoanthus sp. & small green Zoanthus sp.; 20+ green Ricordea florida mushrooms; Red (~20) and blue metallic (2) Discosoma; and a couple Rhodactis.
Water parameters: Sp. Gravity = 1.024; Nitrate <10 ppm; Nitrite = 0, Ammonia = 0; temp = 77-79F; Ca = 360 mg/l; Alk = 2.0 meq/l; Iodine = a little less than 0.3 (been slowly bumping it up this week); pH = 8.0. We do 10% water changes every 1-3 months.
Other info: I had two major surgeries in the past 1 ½ years. During that time my hubby (who loves me, but not the tank so much!) kept up on routine tank maintenance but I wasn't able to do much in the way of moving and corralling corals. Because of this my Xenias have gone a little wild and I have some other corals growing too close to each other. I am back in the swing of things now and want to spruce up the tank by adding a little more variety. I want to keep everything as happy and healthy as possible but also would like to add a little more variety if possible. I have attached a photo of the tank. It's little bigger file than the suggested photo size but I lost too much detail with lower resolution photos (I have some other that show more detail if you would like. It would help with my "mystery white stuff" question).
Here are my questions:
1) Do I have too many Xenias? I like the look of them, but I don't want to overwhelm the other corals and my clam. I could "prune" them, let them attach to some rubble and sell to my LFS if I need to thin for everyone's health.
<I would prune these... maybe sell/trade to local stores... else, via Craig's List to other hobbyists>
2) Is my clam in danger being so close to the star polyps and mushrooms?
<Likely it's fine>
He really likes that spot in the tank but his neighbors have grown up close to him. He's been in the tank for 3 months and is growing and getting his color back after a little initial bleaching when I first added him (can see white growth on edges when he "clams up" at night).
3) I have some white spongy stuff growing on the underside of some rocks on the far left hand side of the tank. It's not slimy or filmy and doesn't have an odor. It seems more sponge-like. Is it a sponge or something to be concerned about? (I have better photos of this but didn't want to max out your email).
<Is likely sponge/Poriferan>
4) I want to add two more type of corals but have read mixed info on how wise it would be. There is a large (over 12" tall with a 3" thick stalk) Spaghetti coral (Sinularia flexibis) I would like to purchase & a Lemnalia that is about 3" X 6". What are your thoughts on adding these to my tank?
<Likely will be fine as well>
Would the Spaghetti coral help keep the Xenia in check or do them harm?
<Likely the Xeniids will overcome the Alcyoniid in time>
I have good water flow and replace the charcoal at each water change (OK - just one more question - should I be replacing the charcoal more often?)
<Mmm, nope>
I think that's plenty of questions for now. Hopefully I won't have to bug you for a few years again J. Thanks for you help. Sue W.
<Thanks for sharing Sue. Bob Fenner>

Re: Heteroxenia sp. & Caulastrea sp., allelo f'   3/11/10
Thanks, I've read some of the links you mentioned. I have moved the Zoas to the bottom of the tank away from other corals, put in some carbon to remove any potential toxins.
It almost looks like the Xenia's stalk has been stung or damaged.
<Very possible>
I'm also moving the Xenia away from the Zoas. Any need to "dip" the Xenia in something to help the tissue heal... Melafix?
<Never... read on WWM re... worse than worthless... Perhaps additional iodide/ate... BobF>

Allelopathy Culprit -- 10/26/09
Hi Crew:
<Bonnie... why are you sending images of 13 meg size?...>
I have attached 2 pics of my 3 yr. old 29G reef tank. The specs are:
Salinity 1.026, KH=11, Calcium=440, Magnesium=1320, Temp=78 degrees, 1 150W MH 14,000K, use an Aqua C Remora skimmer and an Aqua Clear 300 filter which also houses a sack of ChemiPure Elite and a small amount (2 tsp.) of Rowa Phos. I faithfully perform a 25-30% water change every weekend. Nitrates and Ammonia are zero.
<So far...>
Fish: 2 orange & white Ocellaris clowns and 2 black & white Ocellaris clowns, 1 Kole Tang.
<I'd stick with one pair of Clowns and the Kole needs more room>
I've had the orange & white clowns and the Kole tang for 3 years; the black and white clowns for 1 year.
As you can see by the pics I have 2 variety of xenia, red Goniopora, frog spawn, 1 crocea clam, Zoanthids/green star polyps, orange Ricordea, blue sponge and the low encrusting star polyp (don't know the proper name).
Everything in the tank is doing well and thriving with full extension except the crocea clam. I've had this clam for 3 years and it continues to show new shell growth. However, the past 4 months I have noticed that is retracting more and more. I have noticed when the lights first come on in the morning, the clam is fully extended and beautiful. But within about 3-4 hrs. the clam starts closing up tight. Since all tank parameters are good, I feel that once all the other corals start opening up, there must be a bit of allelopathy or chemical warfare going on which the clam is reacting to. I know that the Zoanthids & star polyps can be fairly toxic and have even read that the Goniopora can put out some pretty good stinging cells.
<You are correct>
My question to you is what do you feel is the most noxious animal currently in my system for me to remove?
<Unfortunately, the Xeniid/s...>
I would hate to loose my clam,
<Or lose it likely>
and am willing to remove what is the biggest culprit or culprits. I change the sack of ChemiPure every 2 months.
<Good... I'd switch this out monthly... leave one in for the two months... i.e. leap-frog two units>
I'm thinking maybe I should use ESV charcoal and change it every weekend when I do my water changes instead of using the ChemiPure. What would you recommend?
<Worth trying>
Thanks in advance for any suggestions/help you can lend me.
<Is there room for another, or larger system? Bob Fenner>

Re: Allelopathy Culprit  10/27/09
Hi Bob,
Sorry about the pictures! Thank you for your reply. It was an eye-opener for me! I was really surprised that you had recommended the xenias be taken out over te other tank occupants.
<Mmm, am sure there is some way (though I don't know how to do this) to make /a symbolic formula/e for "who gets along with whom"... but I can only guess given appearances and lists of cohabitants... Whereas, like a RedOx chart for elements, one can rank who is most likely to steal/lose electrons, things aren't so neat and precise with dealing with allelopathogenic relations... Often Xeniids, in long association with other
Cnidarians, become toxic>
I was always under the impression that xenias got along with everything and were not toxic at all. Fact is, the following was posted on WWM (don't know what date?) ..........
"-Xenia / Seahorse compatibility-
Hello crew, My tank is ready for captive bread seahorses!!! But I was wondering, is it a good idea to mix this coral pom pom xenia in with the seahorses??? I heard they sting, I have right now button corals and green star polyps!! <Well you heard wrong, xenia are one of the few corals which do not possess nematocysts (no stinging!).> Would that be a good mix???
<Supposing you have the appropriate lighting, you should be all set.> Thank you so much!!! <Enjoy, -Kevin>"
<Ah, yes... not stinging, but a good deal of chemical aggression>
So, thanks again, for your recommendation. I am going to remove all the rocks that have the xenias and sell them back to my LFS. Fact is, my xenias have grown so well over the last couple of years that I have
propagated them many times and have actually sold them to my LFS! This time they can buy them all.
<Likely "about half" removal will re-establish balance here... with harvesting in future! Bob Fenner>

Xenia / Zoanthids: Natural Ways To Prevent Spreading 9/9/09
Hello WetWeb Crew!
<Hi Jeff>
I'm planning out a 90 gallon softies reef and would like to concentrate on Zoanthids and pulsing xenias. I have 2 rock clusters on either side of the tank, one of which will be devoted to the Zoas and the other for the xenias. Assuming that both corals are able to thrive, I'm concerned that they will both spread prolifically leading to significant maintenance. I'd like to find a natural way to limit the growth (especially on the xenias),
and one idea would be to introduce a leather coral in between the two. If the xenias spread to the leather's turf, the leather would protect its territory by stinging. Would this work and is it a good idea? If so, what
are some specific species recommendations?
<Not a good idea with the leather. Xenia's form a colony, all attached to each other, and a sting will likely affect the entire colony. I've tried an experiment to control a colony of coral by placing an aggressive coral near the colony. The end result, which took a few weeks, was the decimation of the entire colony. I suggest you keep these corals on a rock the size you wish the colony to be. Any corals spreading from the rock
can easily be controlled by cutting.>
Thanks a bunch!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Tanks equip (not yet setup!):
90 gallon, w/ 4 inch DSB
30 gallon, 3 compartment sump with mud refugium (reverse daylight lighting)
Current USA Nova Extreme Pro 6x54 watts T5
Vortech MP40
ASM G-2 Skimmer
Planned Fish:
2 Ocellaris Clowns
1 Royal Gramma
1 Canary Wrasse
1 Radiant Wrasse
<Not entirely reef safe.>
1 Neon Goby
1 Cherub Angel
<Not one of the easier pygmies to keep if you are new at this. A Coral Beauty would be a better choice, keeping in mind that they are reef safe, but with caution.>
<<Really James? I find that Centropyge argi is much hardier on average in semi-peaceful settings. RMF>>

Cespitularia and Heteroxenia... hlth., comp.    8/3/09
Hello WWM,
Long time reader, first time writer!
I currently have a 24 Aquapod, with the first chamber a Fuge and second chamber I have a penguin 220 filter. I have LR, LS and have been cycling for over 8 weeks. After wards I added snails, ( no hermits, hate crabs) and waited another 1 month before adding anything else. ( This isn't my first system ) So I added a Blue Cespitularia, and a frag of Heteroxenia.. The Blue Cespitularia when I bought it was under actinic lighting so I couldn't tell if the polyps were whitish when I bought it, anyway the specimen look pretty good, considering the move but is releasing black substance from its polyps?
<Mmmm, perhaps "nothing" to be concerned re... but...>
The Heteroxenia however doesn't look good, the hands have turned black and sorta fell off. The stem and branches are still there it just looks bald now. Any suggestions, they both came from 250w MH set-ups and I currently have a 150w 14k bulb. Both are placed on bottom now.
Parameters as follow
<Needs some... and HPO4...>
Alk- low to normal range
Also I would say the tank has medium flow ( stock pump and Koralia Nano Powerhead), and the xenia isn't in it's direct way. And my livestock is a Sixline wrasse.
Thanks in advance
<Often, systems, particularly small volumes, will only support one species of Xeniid... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/xeniidcompfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Xenia and Zoanthid Control -- 5/1/09
Hi again,
<Hi Steve!>
Thanks so much for your help!!!
<You're welcome!>
Can I ask another question?
<Go for it>
Okay, I've got a whole lot of rock with Zoanthids and Xenia that are taking over my tank.
<Uh-oh. That's a common problem -- especially with Xenia. I had a similar issue with Green Star Polyps years ago. My tank looked like the green hills of Ireland which was pretty, but not what I had in mind!>
I want to get rid of these entirely, do you have any ideas?
<Yes. Option number one is to sell or swap the rocks with the Xenia and Zoanthids on them. The saying 'One man's weed is another man's wildflower' applies here. Check your local fish club, stores, or other hobbyists in the area. Xenia is a poor shipper so you might be able to get a pretty good deal. Also, if you've got some nice Zo's, those should sweeten the deal as well.>
I know I could scrub, but with all the holes, I would probably miss some, and this headache would begin again in time. Is my only option to set the rock in the sun for a few days, killing everything beneficial on it?
<I wouldn't do anything that drastic.>
Or should I boil the rock?
I would like to rid myself of these weeds, before adding the new rock.
<I can certainly understand that. If you don't want to swap, frag (for sale) or outright sell the rock (and buy new) you're going to have to get hands on with the stuff. One recommendation for thinning Xenia is to take a sharp pair of scissors and cut each stalk off at the base. If you want to take things a step further, you can snip the stalks, then turn the rock(s) upside down away from the light. For more information/methods (again, this problem is pretty common), see the FAQ's at this link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidcompfaqs.htm . Regarding Zoanthid removal techniques, this has been covered as well at WWM. Please see the information at the following link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zoanthidcompfaqs.htm . Just keep in mind that these can be very toxic, so be careful -- wear gloves and protective eyewear and don't let any children, pets, or anyone else come into contact with them. For more information on Palytoxin issues, please see this link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zoanthidreprfaqs.htm >
Thanks again!
<You're welcome again! Take care, LynnZ>

Xenia outbreak 01/21/09 Hey guys, It appears that one of the live rocks that I purchased is starting to spring up with xenia's. I am not sure what type they are but they are possibly the type that pulsate. I have noticed that they are starting to spread onto other rocks. I really don't want these taking over my tank. Do you have any suggestions what I can do to rectify this situation? Your help would be greatly appreciated <Couple of things to try first... 1) turning over the rock such that the xenia are buried (with *no* light). If you can't do that 2) try using a Dremel saw or hammer and screwdriver to chisel out the parts of the rock with the xenia. I would try these first before resulting to more drastic measures.> Thanks Brian Dietiker <De nada, Sara M.>

Anything that eats xenia? 11/15/08 Hi. I am looking for a fish that will reliably eat pulsing xenia. Preferably something that won't get much more than 5-6". <Mmm...> I'm growing xenia in my fuge and I have an extra tank in the fish room. Was thinking I'd get something that eats it, instead of just pruning. Any ideas? So far, I've not come across anything reliable that fits the bill. Thanks! Joel <Best to prune... carefully. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/xeniidcompfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Coral, Xenia  & Lemonpeel  8/26/08 <Hi G. Mich here today> I would like to have a coral that will grow (quickly, if possible) over my rocks. I was hoping a Xenia would do the trick <Likely would.> but my Lemonpeel Dwarf Angelfish ate it in 2 days. <Or maybe not...> So I was wondering if there is a coral out there that would cover my rocks and not be eaten by the Lemonpeel; <I'm wondering if there is a particular reason why your rocks covered with coral as opposed to Coralline Algae.> perhaps it would have toxic traits that would deter him. <There are many noxious corals.> I have a Star Polyp that he does not touch. <Green Star Polyp was one of the first that comes to mind. GSP are highly noxious.> It doubled in size and attached to the rock <And can be hard to rid of as well.> but seems to have halted its growth. <Interesting... GPS are often the allelopathic winners.> I also have a torch coral that he nips on sometimes but won't eat; <Another highly allelopathic coral.> this specimen however doesn't seem to grow or multiply. <I'm wondering the size of you tank, if you're running carbon, what other corals you have in the tank? A little reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chemFiltrMar.htm > Most of my live rocks are vertical and it's quite difficult to get a coral to stay on them. <There are ways... if this is desired...> I would prefer a species to attach itself naturally and grow over the rocks yet the Lemonpeel is making it difficult. <Xenia can be prolific, but too tasty for your Lemonpeel. Anthelia is in the same order and may be worth trying. GSP comes to mind but can be a nuisance and can be rather toxic, so I would be cautious with this coral. Zoanthids might be a nice addition but may not do well with the GSP and the Euphyllia, but may be the best option. More reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidarts.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/caryophyllids.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zoanthid.htm > Thanks, G. <Welcome, Mich>

Phyllodesmium to rid Xenia?  6/26/08 Crew - Phyllodesmium is a common Nudibranch predator on a variety of soft corals, and often mimic their preferred prey. From my research, the Nudi that resembles Xenia will eat it exclusively. My friend has one to eradicate the Xenia in his tank... which it's doing a good job of. As soon as it's completed the task he suggested I use it for the same to get rid of my Xenia - which I want to do. Your thoughts are very much appreciated on this tactic to rid my tank of Xenia.  <Worth trying... I have seen this genus of Nudi on other than pulsing soft coral species in the wild. Bob Fenner>

G'day, Sudden Xenia crash... Cnid. incomp.    2/8/08 Good morning to all at WWM, I have had several Salt tanks for a few years now. All of them have always had pulsing Xenia in them. The tank in question is a 72g BF with a 30 gallon sump, 2x250 MH, 4x54 T5 actinic, Mainly Softies and LPS. <Mmmm> This tank has been setup for a little over 2 years and has had pulsing Xenia in it from the start of adding corals. I haven't added anything new in quite some time I don't even remember when it was but it's been a while. I do however frag/trim stuff fairly often to keep from overgrowing. Tank Parameters SG 1.025-26 Temp 79.8 - 81.1 Nitrate 20 Ammonia 0Nitrite 0Ca 350Mg 13202% - 5% water change every couple of days (I'm a stay at home dad so I like to work on the tank). Okay all that said I woke up yesterday morning, looked at the tank and saw that the pulsing Xenia Had shriveled up drastically more than I'd ever seen it. The tops were turning a light white/green color, also if you moved them at all they let off a dark brown stuff into the water and They smell really bad. I have always kept them isolated to one rock in the tank and trim them down when it gets to big. I usually keep what I trim off in the sump or give them away. The odd thing is that all the Xenia in the sump are doing the same thing! <Mmm, not strange> But no other corals seem to be effected by this. I have attached some pictures of the Xenia in question, <Good ones too> as well as some shots I took just two days ago. I guess my questions are, Is there any hope for them still or are they gone? <Gone> Is it bad to leave them in the tank to see if they make it? <Likely no trouble... are being dissolved, filtered out...> What could do this to them so suddenly, could it have been some kind of chemical warfare, <Yes> the only thing near the rock is a Torch coral, GSP, Toadstool leather? Thanks again, Never could have made it this far into the hobby without everyone's help at this site! Lucas <There was some sort of "cascade effect" by one, two of the above Cnidarians... Likely the Euphyllia... and...? The Xeniid lost. Bob Fenner>

Removing Xenia from Acrylic Tank Wall 1/2/08 Hi friends, <Hello.> I have quite a bit of Xenia. Most of the ones on rock are not any problem per se, but several colonies started climbing the side and front walls of my 80gallon Hex tank. <That?#8364;™s Xenia for you!> Unfortunately, I thought this was cool a few months ago, but of course I procrastinated doing anything about it and now need to address the problem. In the past I've placed rock next to colonies in order to trade w/friends, but the ones on the wall are not exactly close to anything they could adhere to.. and since the tank is acrylic, anything that scrapes the acrylic would do more harm than good. Can you make any suggested approaches to try? <Many times Xenia is easy enough to just pick off the sides of a tank. If that fails you can gently scrape it off with a credit card or acrylic safe scraper, again gently.> My last resort will be to buy lots of magnetic bars used to clean tanks and wait for them to hop on. <This could work; I would try simply pulling them off first. You will be surprised how easy Xenia (usually) comes off. Best regards, Scott V.>

Xenia/Feather Duster Anomaly?#8364;? Maybe not so Anomalous?#8364;?  9/10/07 Hi Crew, <Hello Mr. Fish! Heehee! I have stood in front of my tank and said that a time or two! Poconofishy Mich here tonight!> I am a long time reader, first time emailer. <Willkommen!> Thanks for the time you all invest answering the FAQ's! <On behalf of Bob, and the crew, you're welcome!> I wanted to drop you a note and share a recent discovery that seems to be a bit of an anomaly. <Cool.> My wife was looking at the tank yesterday and noticed that one of the branches on our Xenia Elongata was not a Xenia branch at all. A feather duster somehow embedded itself in the stalk of the Xenia and appears to be living quite happily. <Or perhaps the Xenia grew around the feather duster. Xenia can be like a weed!> I merely wanted to share the discovery, as I plan to allow the "relationship" to play out. Thanks for reading! <Thanks for sharing!> Picture attached. <Nice clear pic BTW. Will post Mr. Fish!> Ron Fish <")))>< <Cute signature! Mich> (real last name BTW) <Nice name for a marine aquarist or a hasher.> Charlotte, NC
<Gouldsboro, PA>

Zoanthid Health Issues/Coral Compatibility ?#8364;" 6/8/07 Hey guys. I don't want to take up too much of your time with what would seem like a relatively easy question to answer. I have a 10 gallon nano - reef aquarium which has been set up for several months. I am utilizing a 200 GPH Marineland Bio Wheel Filter, 40 Watt PC 10,000K/Actinic light fixture, and an additional self-rotating powerhead for additional circulation. Water parameters are as follows: Ammonia-0 Nitrite-0 Nitrate-testing @ around 0 ppm SG-1.023 <This is not bad, but we usually recommend 1.025-1.026 to mirror the sea.> Temp-78 I have been adding several corals over the past several months, and trying to avoid a "coral garden." <Me too!> I initially added 3 Hairy Mushroom Polyps and some Green Star Polyps, and Yellow Polyps. Later I added a small 3 head Frogspawn, and several colonies of Zoanthids, all of which did very well initially. Just last week, I was virtually given a beautiful Xenia elongata, which I placed high on the left corner of the tank in order to give it substantial room. <Xenia is so cool!> The Xenia is already attaching and slowly spreading in the strong current, but now there seems to be a problem with my largest Zoanthid colony, which is relatively close to the Xenia and is now almost half closed. <Hmmm.> Everything else in the aquarium is doing very well, including the 2 other Zoanthid colonies. I didn't think that Xenia was very aggressive in terms of detrimental physical contact with other corals, or with chemical secretions, or am I mis-informed? <Xenia does not sting, but does secrete some potentially annoying chemicals. You will see when it is time to prune it, Xenia is very stinky when irritated!!> To be complete, I have 6 red-legged hermit crabs and 1 Citron Goby about 3/4 inch. <Neat!> For all intents and purposes, I consider my tank to be full, and will not be adding anything else. <You get a Gold Star!!> Water changes are 15% every week with RO. <Very nice.> Thanks so much for your help. <I would move the Xenia to a spot with less current (less agitation may slow down its secretions ?#8364;" and it pulses more when there is not much current), increase carbon use, and/or increase water changes since you don?#8364;™t have a skimmer. I find my Zoanthids do best on the other end of the tank (75 g) from the Xenia. 10 g is close quarters. If they don?#8364;™t perk up with these changes, you may need to remove one or the other. I find the mushrooms are not affected by the Xenia, but the Xenia does not get too close to the mushrooms.> Scott <Cheers, Alex>

Please please help me to remove xenia from my tank... okay... read    2/26/07 Hi, <Adam> I have a huge amount of xenia (pulse coral) in my tank, its taken over, I try stripping it off the rock and giving it to my local shop but its just taking over, nothing stops it.  Is there any critter, fish, treatment, chemical or something that will stop this stuff or remove it totally from my tanks? Please?! Thanks Adam <Some... please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidcompfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Anemone vs. Xenia...Help!   2/20/07 My anemone relocated right next to my zennia. <Uh-oh.> It keeps taking the  zennia <xenia> in its mouth and now some of the zennia branches are dropping of as they  act like they have been strangled. <They are being attacked both physically and chemically.>   I don't know how to move the anemone or  the zennia.<xenia> <I would suggest searching WWM re fragging the xenia...it is my opinion that the anemone would be more difficult in forcefully removing the anemone (if it has "rooted"). Another option is relocating the entire rock to another "more undesirable" spot in the tank to encourage the anemone to move elsewhere. Unfortunately this is one of the possible outcomes when you mix moving cnidaria like anemones and sessile invertebrates.> please advise.  thanks you <Adam J.>

Xenia and Bubble death?? 1/27/07 Hello, <Greetings! GrahamT here.>   I have had a 26 gal nano reef going for over a year now with a nice bubble coral, two types of hammer-heads, some green star polyps and a yellow star colony.  A few days ago I bought a pulsating xenia (about four stalks attached to a rock) and now at day 3, some of my tank seems on the decline.  The second day with the xenia, I noticed my large pink snail (no idea what type he is) was sucking on the bottom of one of the stalks.  The next morning I awoke to that stalk completely gone and a neighboring stalk cut open and melting on the rock.  The other two are thriving.  It seems to me that snail probably did this, but that's not even the worst of the problems.  Today I come home and my bubble coral (which is usually big and beautiful- never had a problem with it) is closed up tight and even seems to be retracting from its skeleton.  The most disturbing thing was a hermit crab was on top of it ripping into its flesh.  I was wondering if perhaps having the ripped open xenia in the tank still is causing my bubble to die, is that a possibility?   <Not likely, no.> The rest of the tank seems to be doing fine, everything else is eating and acting as usual.  The only other changes I made within the time frame of getting the xenia was lowering the water temp (I noticed it was a bit high when I added it, now its at 74 which is the usual)  and we relocated the green star polyps.  <74 is a bit low by my reckoning. I would go with 77-79, depending on how much your temp fluctuates during the light-on hours. > Any advise on this would be greatly appreciated! <Xeniids are (as a rule) passive, unpredictable specimens. People report their success on both ends of the spectrum - either they have so many, they want to get rid of them, or they can't keep any alive. I would firstly suspect the green star-polyp is using it hefty arsenal of chemical weaponry here to attack the Xenia. This might be hurting the bubble, too, given the small system volume, though I would be interested in the hermit crab's actions in this case also. GrahamT.>   Thanks in advance,   Alyssa Schladt

Feather Dusters Choking Xenia ...or Xenia Choking Feather Duster?  1/9/07 Hi Bob, <Hi Tom!  Mich with you today.> Love your website. Great information! <Thank you for the positive feedback!> I searched your site and google, but found no answer for this. I have what looks like Bispira variegata growing on a rock with Pumping (Pulsing) Xenia on it. I left it alone for the past 6-8 months since it was attractive and not bothering the xenia. It is now beginning to strangle the Xenia. It is squeezing the base of the coral and it may eventually pinch it off. How can I get the feather duster off without hurting the Xenia. <I would be more concerned about hurting the feather duster.> Can I remove it from the water and peel/pick them off? <I would not do this to the Bispira variegata.> Is it ok to touch the Xenia (someone told me once not to touch them because it will damage them. <Yes it's OK to touch the Xenia.>   Another note, it seems that the Xenia is growing around the feather duster like a tree would grow around a wire. What should I do? A couple of ideas here Tom.  As a generality, it seems that people are either unable to grow Xenia, or it becomes like a weed it there system.  Many people have so much Xenia that they will give it away for next to nothing.  For the most part, Xenia is relatively easily propagated.  This is why I would be careful not to harm the Bispira variegata, which is not so easily propagated.   If your Xenia is doing well in the system, it should be pretty hardy.  My first suggestion to you would be to encourage the Xenia to move.  I presume that the Bispira variegata and the Xenia are attached to a rock.  If this is the case and if it is possible, the easiest thing to do would be to turn the rock so the Bispira variegata and the Xenia are facing away from the light.  This will encourage the Xenia to move away from the Bispira variegata and grow towards the light.  If this is not possible I would try fragging the Xenia.  Either cutting the Xenia entirely away from the rock or removing just the part that concerns you.  A last option is not to do anything and allow the Xenia and the Bispira variegata to reach their own understanding so long as neither is obviously loosing the battle, at which time it may be necessary to intervene.   Thank you, <Welcome!  -Mich> Tom

About Xenia... dis., comp.   8/23/06 I having problems to keep any species of xenia in my reef tank. I would like someone advanced aquarists to help me solve the problem.   I tried to keep a lots of different species xenia but no one can success. Water quality? <Possibly> Lighting? <Not likely> Water movement? <Could be> Nutrients? PH? I do everything but did not see the result. Still cannot keep xenia in my reef tank.   My tank size:   36"x18"x18" with 15gallons sump with feather Caulerpa filter with 24hrs daylight lighting. with Plenum and 4" 2mm sand bed. 20kg live rock in main tank.      equipments:   1 (Eheim) return pump 3396l/hr   2 (Seio) water movement pumps 2400/hr   1 (Aquanic) water movement pump 1500/hr   1 (AquaMedic) Skimmer with pump 2500L/hr   1 280watts chiller      This is my tank water parameter:   PH         - 8.3   Ammonia - 0mg/L   Nitrite      - 0mg/L   Total Nitrate - 20mg/L <A bit high... would keep no more than half this>   Phosphate  - 0mg/L   dKH         - 11-12dKH   salinity     - 1.0235 <Better near 1.025>   Temperature - 26.5C   Calcium       - 450mg/L   Magnesium  - 1300mg/L      * I use SeaChem Reef Plus twice a week to maintain the iodine and trace element, and Kalkwasser to makeup water.    <Might be something in how you're administering these last two>   Lighting:   1 14k T5   1 Actinic T5   1 12k  fluorescent (sera)   2 actinic fluorescents (Acadia)      Fishes:   1 yellow tang   1 blue hippo tang   2 clown fish   3 green Chromis   1 sixline wrasse   1 flasher wrasse      others:   2 cleaner shrimps   1 blue legged hermit crab      corals:   LPSs: 1 open brain, 1 green galaxy.   soft coral : yellow polyps, different species buttons and different types of mushrooms.    <Very likely allelopathy with these other cnidarians>   Problem:   - every time i added new xenia into my tank the xenia not open sometime will melted within 2days.   - sometime the xenia looks unhappy and dry look then slowly die off.   -then i tried to buy the established xenia from the LFS. the polyps open very nice in the LFS established reef tank with only actinic light. <Don't need actinic...> When i put it in my tank 1st day still open but not like at the LFS. 2nd day the polyps open bigger then 1st day. 3rd and 4th day looks good polyps open nicely, but till 5th day it looks unhappy the polyps looks dry again.....:( is no reason every things is ok but only xenia. I really loves this coral but very hard to keep :( why? why? why?   - others coral in my tank doing very well and spreading very fast like button. Maybe i got no luck with xenia :(      Steve xxxxx <Mmm... I would try adding whatever Xeniid to a separate "go-between" tank, with only partial water from your system, the rest all new... adding some more tank water weekly... Please read on WWM re Pulsing Corals: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidarts.htm and the linked files above, as well as searching, reading re the terms mentioned above. Bob Fenner>
Re: About Xenia... dis., comp., using WWM   8/24/06
Dear FAQ Crew,    <Steve>   Thanks for your advice.   Having some more questions.:      1. You said my NO3 level 20mg/L a bit high. Have to reduce it more then half of this. <Yes>   Current tank system is using 5 ways to reduce the NO3 level. 1. Protein skimmer (Aquamedic Turboflotor), 2. Caulerpa refugium (24hrs lighting), 3. Plenum system at the main tank, 4. ALGONE pouch, and 5. 10% water change every week. Last time my tank NO3 level was more then 100mg/L, now reduced to 20mg/L only. And i using so many way that still can maintain at 20mg/L only, so how to reduce more then half of this?    <Mmm... add a DSB, other macro-algae... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm and the linked files above>   2. You ask me to increase the spg to 1.025. Is that will shock the live stock? <No... do gradually... with water changes> Is that have to increase a bit by a bit between few days? My LFS told me spg too high the fish will infected saltwater ich, is that true? <To some extent, yes> My clown fishs sometime got white spots, the day after they will gone by itself. Few days later the white spots will come back and infected my clown fishs again. If i increase the spg, the white spots can be come more serious?    <See WWM re Cryptocaryon... you seem to have a latent infestation... best to deal with this...>   3. You said must be something i administering Kalkwasser and SeaChem reef plus to course failed my Xeniid. <?... possibly an influence, yes> This is the method to i administering this two. I tested my tap water is no nitrate so i did not use RO water. I add dechlorinator to tap water and mixed with Kalkwasser powder let it settle for few hrs. Extract the clear layer of Kalkwasser and drip it to my tank at night. I apply the SeaChem reef plus twice a week. <To? I would introduce this only through water changes> when reef plus added to the tank, I'll disconnected the protein skimmer for 1 hr. I using reef plus to maintain the iodine and trace elements for Xeniid as GARF website.   Is the method have any problem?    <Yes, possibly>   4. If the calcium level of my tank is not a problem 450mg/L and the dKH also in the right level 11-12dKH, how can i increase the ph level up to 8.4 an above? <... there are a few ways... posted on WWM> Can i using Kalkwasser to push the ph up? <I would not> coz last time i using buffer, problem is buffer will push the dKH up as well till the dKH level up to 17dKH. <Bingo... time to send you again... back to reading... on WWM re Kalk, Alkalinity, pH...>   5. About Xeniid. At night is the Xeniid polyps will close and not expand? Is that normal?      Thanks again      Steve XXXXXX <Please, learn to, use WWM, the indices, search tool... Bob Fenner>

Xenia disappearance   8/11/06 Hi Crew, <Tom> Overnight, it looks like one of the main stems of my month-old Xenia disappeared, leaving only an attachment stub (that still has two very small new "sprouts" showing).  Although I see no obvious signs of a struggle, I suspect foul play. <Could be...> Other tank residents include 2 Gobies, 3 Peppermint Shrimp (who did a remarkable job eating my Aiptasia, over the 5 weeks I've had them in there), one Fireshrimp, 3 (supposedly) algae eating Hermit crabs, and one unidentified hitchhiker crab, dime-sized or smaller. <... could be any of the crustaceans... or...> For what it's worth, the tank has also had a Sarcophyton for 9 months, and it has never had any problems. Thanks for your thoughts, Tom <And there are situations in which pulsing soft corals do "just fail"... sometimes quite rapidly. Please read on WWM re the propensity (Compatibility) for each of the crustaceans listed to get along, and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidarts.htm and the linked files above for insight into captive Xeniid Behavior, Systems... Bob Fenner>
Re: Xenia disappearance   8/14/06
Thanks, Bob. <Welcome Tom> I removed all the Peppermint Shrimp, and two hermit crabs (one is unaccounted for, but I have not seen it since I removed the others).  I did notice one of these hermits munching on the stub of the Xenia that first disappeared, but he could have been just cleaning up. <Ah yes> As of today,  I see that I have lost at least one more Xenia stalk, and maybe two.  What seems odd is that the remaining stalks look just fine and very happy, while those that disappear do so almost completely, and at night. <Mmm... good to take a look/see with a small-beamed flashlight... perhaps a predator will be revealed...> There still may be a hitchhiker crab in there, and my next step will be to try to trap him. <Good> Is there any chance the Fireshrimp is the culprit? <Very small, but yes> Do you still think there is a significant probability that these stalks are "melting away" overnight? <Not likely... would all go... and during the day as well as night> In case it matters, the tank is a 30 gallon,  live rock, 192 watts (50/50 actinic/10000K), skimmer, 3 powerheads, bio-wheel filter, set-up for about a year. Do you think I should move this Xenia to a different tank (it's still easy, because it's only attached to the plug it came on)? <Is the easiest, surest thing to do to preserve it... is what I would do> (I'm down to two little stalks left). Thanks again, Tom <Bob Fenner>
Re: Xenia disappearance  - 08/15/06
Thanks, again, Bob. <Welcome Tom> It's 12:30 PM here, and I just came into the darkened room to look at the Xenia.  My light fixture has lunar lights, which were bright enough to just make out the shape of my hitchhiker crab right there, apparently working on the Xenia. <Ah ha!> I decided to grab him and pull him out.  I succeeded, but he took with him the rest of the Xenia stalk he'd been working on. <Arggghhhh, the irony!> So now I'm down to one Xenia stalk, but presumably no predators in the tank. Thanks for what proved to be good advice! Tom <Mmm, hopefully your one Xeniid stalk will grow into many> P.S. I wonder why he had no interest in the Sarcophyton. <"Not as tasty"> P.P.S.  I wonder if all the hermits and Peppermint Shrimp can be deemed safe.  I suppose I should give the Xenia time to grow before I experiment. <Good idea. Cheers, BobF> 

Mixing Xenia Species? - 04/06/06 Hey there guys, <<Howdy (gals here too, btw) Currently in my tank, I have 7 different species of Xenia.  I've been doing quite a bit of research, but my findings are still inconclusive when it comes to this question.  GARF recommends a polyculture environment for xenias in preventing crashes; however, I firmly believe it is the lack of nutrients (phosphates+nitrates) in the water that causes crashes. <<A contributing factor, agreed.  But I've also heard speculation that this (crash) is just what these species 'do'...that based on certain environmental factors/cues, Xenia will wither/melt away only to be renewed (reborn?) from the remaining matter if left undisturbed.  And as for polyculture...I think any coral would be 'easier' to maintain in a mono-specific tank.>> The reason I ask this question is because many speak of Red Sea Umbellatas being one of the fastest spreaders/growers, yet I only have 4 stalks that I received 4 months ago.  My Goldback Xenia on the other hand, has been the faster grower out of the bunch.  My White Fiji was growing when nitrates were at 80ppm, but now that I've lowered and maintained it at 0, their growth has been stunted. <<Hah, Indeed!  Xenia is thought to be a primary absorption feeder and has been observed growing on the sewage effluent pipes from hotels (a bit of nitrate there I imagine!)...and most any coral will benefit from some nitrate in the water (3-5 ppm). It seems to go in phases, typically the newly introduced Xenia will show the most growth.  Currently my Tan/White Bali is starting to pick up which was introduced 2 weeks ago.  My Cespitularia showed growth when first introduced in February, but has also slowed down.  I suspect my Pulsing Sinularia since it is the only coral in the tank showing the most continual growth, but at the same time, that could be because I feed Cyclops/phyto on a daily basis. <<Leather corals are some of the most noxious...keeping these with Xenia in a small system could very well be having deleterious effects on the Xenia long-term.  Adding carbon/Poly-Filter to your filter path can help with this.>> I have this green polyp leather that showed no growth for the longest time until I started propagating it, then it grew 3 times bigger, but has since then stopped.  Propagating the corals also seems to stimulate growth i.e. cutting them in half or into quarters. <<Yes, much like 'pruning' terrestrial plants will sometimes result in renewed growth...as long as there are available nutrients/foodstuffs to support the growth.  Everything comes at the expense of something else...fragging triggers the growth spurt to 'heal' the injury, but must use energy stored for other uses (fighting disease/parasites, reproduction, etc.) in the absence of available nutrient uptake.>> My water parameters are "textbook perfect" and the 20g tank is lit by a 175W 20K bulb. <<Hmm...Xenia are highly photosynthetic, you might consider a Kelvin rating closer to natural 'daylight' and see if that helps.>> I have recently started running carbon as well, so any ideas and opinions would be greatly appreciated, thanks.  I have included an extra large image of the tank for examination purposes if necessary. <<Yes, does not appear to be overcrowded...at the moment <grin>.>> Also, random turbulent currents are achieved by a return pump mounted with a SCWD pumping approx 300gph, and assisted by 2 Rio600s w/ HydroFlo attachments. Thanks for your time in advance. <<Quite welcome my friend.  Regards, EricR>>

Sea Urchins and Xenia   2/22/06 Dear Madam or Sir: <"Paperback writer..."> Thank you again for your assistance with my aquarium.  After reading a few books, and pestering my local merchant, I recently purchased some Xenia.  The folks at Norfolk, VA's Colley Avenue Corals (a new store, if I may give them a shameless plug) spent hours with me as I examined their tanks and asked questions about basic compatibility, temperature, lighting, water quality, etc.  However, I never thought about inquiring about sea urchins. <Okay> I have three sea urchins in my 55-gallon tank.  I believe they are either Echinometra lacunter (rock boring urchin - based upon the description and picture on your web site) or Echinometra mathaei (common urchin - based upon the location from which the live rock was collected). <Both common> They are about one-inch in diameter and appear as active during the day and night.  The tank has been up about one year, and they are probably 50% larger than when I started cycling the water. At least two of the urchins seem fascinated with the Xenia.  They appear to crawl right up to the stalk.  It could be the rock has some algae on it, or it could be they see an enticing and expensive treat. <Mmm, possibly> I've tried to scoot the urchins away with a turkey baster, though this may upset the Xenia almost as much as being munched upon.  One of your FAQs (around NOV 2004) the following note about a diadem sea urchins and Xenias, "I'd say he is running out of good algal food, and this is his next choice.  I would feed him some Nori sheets...It may be a case where it is starving."  Unfortunately, the fish (and urchins) ignored the Nori sheets I used to place in my tank.  And I know the offenders are not diadem urchins. Negative reinforcement does not work well with our cat (or our children), <Nor me> so I don't hold too much faith in the turkey blaster training regimen.  Assuming I want to keep the corals, should I look for a new home for the urchins? <Possibly... sorry for this apparent vagueness... it may be that the urchins will leave this pulsing soft coral alone... not actually eat it, but could cause problems with "poking"> Or are they simply looking for algae in all the wrong places? <Mostly this> Will these urchins grow too big for the tank, and therefore need to move to a classier neighborhood anyway, relieving me from this guilt? <Yes...> Thank you for your help. Sam <Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner>

Xenia Crab  9/8/05 Hi, First of all thanks for all the help I have gained from your fantastic site. I have read so much here that I had to get new glasses. (Haha)  <Glad to hear you have benefited and hope you are kidding about the glasses!> My question is have you ever seen a crab that lives in Xenia? I have had this Xenia for about a month. I put it in my display tank about a week ago and noticed a crab living among the polyps. He blends in very well and is hard to see. It does not seem to eat or pick at the Xenia. The polyps pulse all around it as if it is not there. Is it ok to leave it in there or should i remove it? Any info would be appreciated. I have attached a picture. Thank You <Congrats on finding such a neat critter!  I have seen these before in my own tanks and found it to be harmless, although I would keep an eye on it.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Removing Xenia 8/19/05 Hi Crew,  Greeting and salutations to all of you. <Greetings!  Sorry for the slow reply.  It looks like your message may have been lost.  Thanks for re-sending!> My question to you is one of getting rid of every last bit of my white pulsing xenia.  I've read on many excursion through your FAQs that harvesting over-grown xenia is the means of control for said softie.  I've done as much on many occasions and have even located a local LFS that is willing to trade if I can culture it.  At this point in time this is the least of my worries.  It is everywhere in my tank and at all levels from top to bottom.  It is even growing on and within the flutes of a couple of tridacnid clams.  The latter is the biggest source of frustration because it makes it difficult, if not impossible to remove the rock to scrape off all xenia evidence. <Wow! Some aquarists would say that you have nothing to complain about!  However, having had similar experience, I understand your frustration.> Do you know of any source that sells Xeniid crabs?  I understand these are obligate xenia feeders and may be the answer I am looking for. I would rather deal with/find its' next home than deal with the eventual overgrowth in my tank.  <You may try posting at www.reeffrontiers.com or www.reefcentral.com for someone who has stumbled on one, but I don't know of anyone who intentionally imports them.> Are there water parameters that I can "adjust" that make it a less than optimal environment for the xenia?  Bob Jones  <Perhaps so... xenia definitely prefers strong alkalinity and a pH in the range of 8.2-8.4.  Unfortunately, lowering these may be to the detriment of your other corals.  You may want to consider that some angels will eat xenia... Emperors and Blueface are probably most reliable.  Ultimately, you may just have to harvest aggressively and scrub the bits of remaining tissue from the rock to prevent regrowth.  Best Regards. AdamC.>

Xenia problems 5/16/05 WWM Crew, Help! Sorry to email, I¹ve done a bit of browsing but nothing too serious. I¹m just in a bit of a panic about some Xenia¹s I have recently acquired (not aqua-cultured I¹m afraid and only a couple of days in the store, they were just too beautiful and I couldn¹t help myself). There were 3 stalks and 1 is doing fabulous. 1 however is quite sick and there is what I believe to be necrotic tissue in a couple spots and all the polyps are shrinking up. The last one looks healthy but there are a couple of these spots on the base now. They are placed fairly high up but seemed quite happy once I put them there. I¹ve only had them a couple of weeks. There are a few clove polyps near them (just a few small ones that started growing in that spot a few months ago-could this be the culprit?). Everything else in the tank seems healthy.  <This is a common problem with imported xenia. They may look good for a few days, and then the stress of shipping and handling gets the best of them. I would suggest blasting away any loose necrotic tissue with a turkey baster occasionally and being sure that they are getting pretty brisk current.> I have a pH of 8.3, ammonia 0, nitrate and nitrite 0, alkalinity 3.5, 320 calcium (trying to raise with 10 ml does of bionic 2 part calcium alkalinity every other day), temp: 78F at night, 82F during the day (going to get an automatic fan), and a spec. grav. Of 1.023.  <I would continue to try to work the Ca/Alk up to about 380-400/4.0 and the salinity up to about 1.025. You should be able to safely double or even triple your dose of B-Ionic until those values are optimized. Spreading the doses throughout the day will help prevent pH spikes.> I have a simple AquaClear filter (hope to upgrade sometime), ecosystem hang on the back refugium, a bak-pak2 skimmer, 288 watts of compact fluorescent lighting and a couple of powerheads too. I change 10% of the water every week and use purchased RO water (also for top-offs) with Tropic Marine mix.  <This all sounds great!> Tankmates include: button polyps, purple colony polyps, clove polyps, starburst polyps, some coral mushroom anemones, a cleaner shrimp, tiger serpent star, sand goby, ocellaris, Midas blenny, a bunch of Nassarius snails, some Tonga, scarlet hermits, a big tuft of Halimeda and a ton of Caulerpa in the refugium. Sorry to bother you guys but you have been so helpful in the past! Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance, John Kelley  <None of your tankmates sound like a threat to xenia. There isn't much you can do but to optimize your water chemistry and hope that some of the xenia survives, and if it doesn't... don't lose hope! I have had wild xenia colonies appear to completely die, only to regrow weeks later, seemingly from nothing! Best Regards. AdamC.>

White Crab Found in Xenia 4/2/05 Hello Crew. I thank you for being out there to provide such a valuable service. Now on to the question at hand. I purchased a beautiful Xenia colony yesterday (approximately the size of a baseball), which I brought home and placed in my 30 gallon quarantine tank after a 2 hour acclimation process. Shortly after placing the Xenia's base rock into position against another piece of live rock in the tank, I observed a white clawed crab, approximately 1.5" in width, inside of the colony.  <Fascinating!> All of the polyp tentacles were contracted at this time, and this crab was actually taking the closed polyps and placing them in its mouth. It wasn't shearing the polyps with its claws, and it did not appear to be biting off the polyps. Interestingly, it almost appeared as though the crab was cleaning the polyps with its mouthparts.  <Understood... many creatures feed off of the mucus> I became very excited, thinking that I lucked into a Xenia with a mutualistic relationship with a crab. H <You may still have it.> However, after searching your archives this morning, as well as my texts, I have been unable to find any indications of there being any known mutualistic relationships between Xenia and any species of crab. Based on the WWM archives, I would have to guess that this crab is a risk to my coral, and that I should start thinking about getting it out of the tank.  <Perhaps not... I think you should leave it alone and just observe it in QT> What do you guys think? I looked a the Xenia carefully today, and it appears to be healthy, with polyps opening and closing frequently.  <Indeed... you would see predation is if was there. There is not much coral there... if it's getting predated, it will get eaten fast> I could not find the crab in the colony, but I did notice that some polyps' tentacles were missing. I observed anywhere between one and four tentacles missing from those polyps observed to be incomplete, but I did not see any instances where all of a polyp's tentacles were missing, or the entire polyp severed. Should I be worried?  <I'm just not sure... the missing polyps could be from shipping stress/mild infection/damage> I will try to trap the crab tonight and will hopefully get a picture out to you guys tomorrow.  Thank you for your assistance. Lou <Best of luck, Anthony>

Xenia stung by Frogspawn 3/14/05 Hi there! Thanks for the great help you provided me so far! I only have two simple questions. 1- Is there anything I can do to save a pulsing Xenia which was stung by a Frogspawn??? (Only one branch was stung) <strong water flow is key> 2- I'd like to know if the Coralife Aqualight Power Center is a good timer. (I'd really like to know. It's the only timer of this kind available around here and it's 75 $ CAN, so I don't want to get something that wouldn't do...) Thanks a lot!!! Ivan <I don't have personal use with the timer or know of anyone close that has. Better for you, do check the big message board "Reef Central" for a consensus on customer satisfaction. Anthony>

Xenia eating snail?  Or snail eating xenia? First off 40 gallon Temp: 78 pH: 8.5 KH: 8dKH Gravity: 1.024 Ammonia: 0 mg/L Nitrite: 0 mg/L Nitrate 5mg/L Phosphate: 0.25 mg/L Cu: 0 mg/L Ca: 400 mg/L My tank is almost 6 months old (Day 186) Thanks for the calcium help I have effectively reached 400 mg/L CA. I have a question about xenia. I have several Xenia pulsing away, I have had them for about 4 months. A couple of days ago I noticed one of the xenia kind of wilting and looking constricted as it sometimes does. Wondering I reached in to examine, on the other side of the small piece of LR in noticed a snail shell, completely covered in coralline algae (White flesh) that the xenia had attached to holding it fast. I did not purchase this snail and the xenia has been wilted on and off since I got it. I twisted the snail free and placed it a foot away from the xenia. A day past and I noticed that the wilted xenia was recovering but another stalk was withering. Looking I found that same snail right beside the withering stalk. My question is, "Are there snails that eat or attack xenia?"  < Not that I knew of. But hey, maybe you found one. In this case I'd put the snail in a trap or remove it entirely and see what happens. >  The snail's flesh is white, the shell is covered in coralline so I can't tell what it is naturally, any help is appreciated.  < Well I think it would be fun to test this out. Keep the snail in separated from the Xenia for a few weeks, then put him back by the Xenia. See what happens. But this is really strange to me, as I've never heard of this happening. >  Thank you, Troy  < Blundell >

-Xenia compatibility- Greetings: I've read several of the correspondences of people whose Xenias have suffered because of incompatibility with Mushrooms, Anemones, etc.  Mostly the answer is just that it is an incompatible group.  So I'm wondering what is compatible? <Anything, provided it does not touch the xenia.> If I want to keep the Xenias, do my mushrooms, star polyps, yellow polyps, brain coral and clove polyp have to go? <Absolutely not. Xenia is an EXTREMELY fast growing coral, and thankfully, does not possess the power to sting. As it tries to take over your tank it will be stopped by some of the more potent stinging corals in the tank. This isn't a problem, and is normal, you may want to remove the xenia that is being stung at that point and run some fresh carbon.> What does well with the  mushrooms? <Most soft corals will not be stung by them noticeably.>  What will work if I want to keep the Anemone and clown? <Since there are far too many compatible corals to list, i would suggest you purchase Eric Borneman's book Aquarium Corals for all the coral information you'll ever need. As a general rule for anemones, there's no problem unless they touch another coral (please, one anemone to a tank, unless it's a bubble tip anemone and its clones). I hope this is of some help! -Kevin> Thanks in advance.

Xenia question 8/27/03 Hi Guys, Robert here <howdy> I need your expert opinion on a matter concerning Xenia's and a mentally ill clown. The Xenia has been in the tank for a while and is growing like a weed, it has been harassed by my percula clown since it has been in the aquarium, the clown rips the polyps of and spits them out somewhere else in the tank, and every time he does this it starts a colony somewhere else (and I thought that clowns are reef safe fish). <they generally are... but many are known to take residence in LPS corals like false-anemones and kill them... others nibble coral. Strange things happen in captivity... and Xenia are weakly noxious> This one has a personality problem and seems to hate any inverts, it is not just the xenia but he picks the hermit crabs up and drops them on the other side of the tank or he pushes them like a snow plough through the gravel leaving them shell shocked and even the green star polyps have felt the pain caused by this mentally ill clown. The only friend this clown has is the Green carpet anemone, that he cuddles up to. <ughh... how I dread to hear of anemones with corals. A bad long term mix for many reasons (do peruse the WWM FAQ archives on this subject)> Is this normal behaviour or did he loose one of the two brain cells he had during shipment. <I suspect she's just territorial> But this is not what I actually wanted to ask, My question is that the last two days I have seen the Xenia releasing what looks like small white eggs into the water and this is eagerly gulped up by the fish, I have no idea what this is, the pieces that are not eaten look sticky as they stick to the first thing it comes into contact with, Is this the Xenia trying to reproduce or is this some copepod or  worm thingy, The "eggs" are about 2mm in length. <it could be reproduction... has been observed in aquaria> I am no Marine biologist but I have never seen this before. They seem to be coming from the base of the Xenia between the polyps. They also seem to all be gone and when I check there are more of them again, The look like they have a sticky thread attaching them to the base of the Xenia and as soon as they move upwards and pass the polyps this releases and the "egg drifts in the current until it finds something to attach to, I checked under a magnifying glass to see if they are not a small worm or something but they do not move and have no legs or anything suggesting that they are animals and not part of the Xenia Any comments would be appreciated as always. Regards Robert. <it sounds like a thriving and well manicured colony ;) Enjoy... and please do consider pulling the anemone and clown to a separate species tank sans corals. Anthony>

Xenia Farm Awhile ago I wanted to have some Xenia in my tank, now I think that was a big mistake. That stuff will not stop spreading. Is there anything I can do about this? Even if I remove it from the rock it just helps it seems. I would be open to just about anything. Thanks, Robert Jones <run a simple 20 or 30 gallon QT tank with a predatory angel (Pomacanthus) or hardy butterfly and train the fish to eat xenia while in quarantine for 4 weeks. If it passes with flying colors you may add it to the reef with caution. Some risk involved here though. Best regards, Anthony>
Re: Xenia
Robert, <Your previous reply was from Anthony. Steven in this morning with the follow up. Anthony is giving several presentation this weekend at That Fish Place in Lancaster, PA.> I have a copper banded butterfly in the tank now. I didn't put him in there for that reason, but do you think there would be any way that I could get him to eat it. <Possibly> What particular Angel or Butterfly would you recommend. <No hard and fast rules here. Your Copper Banded Butterfly is a good candidate.> Also I may not be able to add him in with my current livestock. I have a yellow tang, sail fin tang, copper banded butterfly, and Pseudochromis. <An Angelfish would be better than another Butterflyfish.> Is there any way that I can take the live rock out with the Xenia and move it to another tank that would kill the xenia and not the live rock, and I could put it back into my main tank? <IN the dark would kill the Xenia, but leave most other nonphotosynthetic creatures alive.> Thanks for any help, Robert Jones <My pleasure. -Steven Pro>
Re: Xenia
As a guess, how long would it take of no light to kill off the xenia? <A week, maybe more> The live rock should be ok? <Anything else photosynthetic will perish, too.> Thanks, Robert Jones <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Reducing Xenia I have some pulsing xenia that are like weeds.....(please stop growing so fast) now there is way too many. How do I remove some---most----since they're attached to the rock?? p.s. the rocks are very large and difficult to remove Thanks again <the most effective method is to "skin" them from the rocks. A rock that can be removed will have a sharpened chisel taken to it. Placed at the base of the coral (not touching the tissue) you make a strike at angle which takes the coral off with only a sliver of carbonate base with it. For rocks submerged in the tank and too difficult to extract, you can use poultry scissors (the ones used in the kitchen for cutting through chicken bone, etc). They are stainless steel and can work nicely just the same. With these scissors, snip hard at the carbonate base just in front of the coral and take the specimen off the rock without cutting the tissue. All of these efforts to avoid cutting tissue are to prevent the propagation of it. If you scraped the coral or left any behind, it will simply regrow... even from a small amount of tissue. Please don't waste this coral either... find a local pet store, aquarist or aquarium society that can take and use this precious resource... a living creature not to be discarded for its success in your aquarium. Best regards, Anthony> Joe Grunstad

Pulsing Xenia <Cheers from America> I have just bought my first pulsing Xenia. <a very beautiful coral> It resides in a tank that is 18 months old. I have various species of coral, including Sarcophyton, bubble coral, trumpet coral, Euphyllia, mushrooms and Green star polyps. <an  interesting and aggressive (chemically noxious) group. The Starpolyps and mushrooms believe it or not are some of the most aggressive corals to be found... despite their lack of sweeper tentacles. Instead they shed considerable inhibiting elements in the water. As will all coral though, temper this with good water quality, weekly water changes, daily use of carbon and good protein skimming of course> I have placed the Xenia (knowing how delicate it can be) away from my bubble coral and my creeping finger coral, and my Euphyllia for obvious reasons. <agreed. Their aggression is quite plainly obvious with sweeper tentacles> My water parameters are the following PH 8.4/8.5 (daytime & evening, not dark) DKH 8.4 Calcium 410 Magnesium 1300 Phosphate 0 Nitrate 20 ppm <all quite fine> Lighting is with 3 60" marine whites (HO bulbs) and 1 60" actinic 03. <if the tank is less than 60 cm deep, the lighting is fine> Water changes of around 12% are done weekly. I use carbon, Rowaphos and poly filters regularly. I dose with aqua-medic strontium and iodine weekly also. <outstanding!> Reading your FAQ's I see depressed PH can be a problem at night for Xenia, they do close up at night (natural I assume) but still pulse closed up if you see what I mean. <understood and agreed> My tank always floats between 8.4 and 8.5 PH, I hope this is sufficient for xenia. <quite excellent> My question is this. Will the Xenia suffer being placed next to my trumpet coral, <yes...likely, but it may fare as well or better next to the leather as it is. Xenia has one of those uncommon relationships whereby they seem to have a commensal relationship (one benefits (Xenia) from the products and proximity of the other, while the other (Sarcophyton) may not benefit or be harmed)> and also in such close proximity to a trimmed Sarcophyton coral as in the picture. All the stalks pulse and are being buffeted gently via a powerhead within the live rock and my main system pump. However as you will notice in the picture one stalk set just lollops down on the side of the rock and fails to pulse in the evening (when lights are going off). <lack of current and light here too. May be that simple> It still pulses in the day when all the lights are on, am I to be concerned by this? <not at all> the Xenia is my first advanced soft coral as such, so any advice would be appreciated.  Best regards Jim Griffin <no worries, my friend.. all sounds quite fine. You seem well read too. I have great faith your tank is beautiful and will continue to be. Keep learning, sharing and growing :) Anthony Calfo>

The benefits of Sarcophyton and pulsating Xenia Hey guys( and gal(s)), My question is for Mr. Calfo.  Mr. Calfo, according to your book it has been observed that pulsating Xenia do better when housed with a Sarcophyton.  Do you have any more information on this phenomenon?   <all anecdotal... not any/much scientific research on this or any aspect of commercial coral culture> Is one type of Sarcophyton better for this purpose than another? <not sure... my experience with Xenia and "leathers" has been favorable with many Alcyoniids though> On an unrelated note, does anyone know if mangroves are legal to buy in California?   <I do not believe you are restricted but cannot confirm. I have seen many mangroves in aquarists tanks in Cali though... do pose this question to some of the societies (hopefully you will join some of these clubs <G>). Try SDMAS, MASLAC, Seabay, etc> I emailed the department of agriculture as well as fish and game and have not received a response. Thank you for your trouble, -Cory <best regards, Anthony>

Killing Xenia I'm having problems trying to kill Xenia sp. around my SPS's. I've tried hot water injections, cold, Kalkwasser, I've even tried injecting vinegar but to avail. Is there anything that will kill them safely? Brett L. <It is going to be far easier to manually remove them. Take a pair of diagonal wire cutters, that are clean and free of oil, and use them to take out a little bit of the rock under the offending Xenia. Be sure to thoroughly clean the cutters afterward, but be warned they will probably rust something awful. -Steven Pro>

Removing Xenia To be honest... I agree with Steve. Diagonal pliers and poultry sheers are the best and most direct method. What we are suggesting to do is bit into the rock just below the Xenia to skin some rock away with the living animal. They cannot possibly grow back if you succeed in doing this... the very 1/16" of rock below the xenia is being removed! The wire brush though does leave bits of tissue which can regrow. Anthony>

Mushroom and Xenia I have this Xenia that is moving off one rock and on to another rock that has some mushrooms. Is there going to be a problem if they contact each other? <yep... the mushrooms may eventually kill the Xenia. They are quite hostile and the Xenia is rather passive> If so what are my options? Thanks for the help <place loose rubble between the two so that is one should grow nearer in the face of an attack, the "firewall" with coral on it can be removed and replaced. Best regards, Anthony>

Xenia's and tank inhabitants Hey Bob Just found your web paged and spent have the night reading through a lot of the questions and answers pages. I have sent in several questions to you before thru F.F.E. and really learned a lot from you. <With me, my friend> I have been running for almost 3 years now and am very happy with the system I have finally put together a 105 gallon oceanic show tank with a 25 gallon sump not wet-dry). Moderately skimmed thru a marketed oceanic skimmer. My xenia's are growing great(2-varieties) tree xenias and pom-pom one type at each end of the tank. They are growing and spreading great. I started out with one of each and have raised more than hundreds of each type. Sometimes I will put shells, pvc pipe which my Gramma enjoys for a short time), and some of the older aquariums parts in with the xenia's just to watch it spread. I do take a lot of the xenia's into local pet stores for trade and sell. Wow what a hobby!!!! <Indeed> Some of the things that I have noticed with my animals: 1. Blistering on the sides near the base: I noticed if they get thick and nothing close to attach to they literally will start producing another foot they can eventually reach solid ground with and split off. Sometime when I notice this happening I will put something close to it and PRESTO a whole new animal. <Yes> 2. Twisting its head. Sometimes their heads will get twisted in the current and completely twist off. Believe it or not but where the head ends up resting it will grow out into it's own colony. Unfortunately this means they have ended up all over the tank including on the glass, on top of power heads, and end the bottom of the external over flow. In every circumstance I have gotten them after they reach a few inches in size and took them to the LFS for $20. <Great> 3. As far a controlling where they go in the tank: I have utilized stinging cell corals to control that out ling boundaries with a Elegance, torches, and Etc. <A worthwhile practice, strategy> 4. Knobby starfish loves xenias!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Enough bragging Now for a few questions 1. Is there any way to control the star polyp type gorgonian? I have tried the torches and other corals to line out its boundaries but it grows right up their shafts and then around it looks like a neat combo but it is still tanking over the tank. <Best to keep this curtailed by isolating material it can spread to, staying diligent about removing it from where you don't want it> 2. I want to add either a flame angel or a Scott's fairy wrasse to my set up Problem is I have heard the angel likes to eat at soft corals. and I know nothing about the Scott's fairy wrasse. <The latter much less likely to experimentally chew... but both should be okay> 3. Is their any good way to ship xenia's. <Not really... best sold locally...> I would love to get in good with FFE and other as far as trade offs, ETC. Kevin Johnson Thanks a whole lot. I'll send you some pictures of the tank later. <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

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